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Government investments in the tech sector: how can we benefit?

Recent funding for tech projects are huge and support for the Queer community is at new heights. We invite a leading member of the Federal Liberal Party to discuss these issues.

Buying innovations from local start-ups

When public institutions are in need of new technology and upgrades to their digital infrastructure, you can bet that only large corporations will have the influence and know-how to secure these lucrative government contracts. Promising Canadian tech start-ups are left out in cold despite the fact that they may provide the best technology and most efficient means to implement a new innovation. This must change.

The government wants to be more like a start-up

Another issue with the government procurement of tech innovations by big corporations is that some projects result in embarrassing flops. A notable recent example is the phoenix pay system debacle; thousands of government employees could not receive their pay cheque after a corporate contractor’s attempt to modernize the federal government’s pay system proved to be a spectacular failure — one that cost us taxpayers over $1 billion. Problems like these often stem from the rigid development processes and complex project management structures common in large corporations, which in turn make it hard to find bugs early on.

Montreal technology superclusters

An ambitious plan to promote innovation on our home turf aims to concentrate resources in regions where tech industries are most competitive. Known as the Innovation Supercluster Initiative, Montréal will receive hundreds of millions of dollars to promote our local artificial intelligence and transportation industries. We expect that large corporations, armed with vast resources and expertise, will benefit the most from this funding. What should tech start-ups and SMEs do to gain a competitive edge needed to join the superclusters and secure Requests for Proposals (RFPs)?

Promoting diversity in entrepreneurship

Hearts within the business community were set aflutter after learning that the 2018 Federal budget will allocate more than $1 billion towards supporting women in entrepreneurship. How can LGBTQ entrepreneurs benefit — if at all — from this initiative? Are there future plans to support other minority groups in entrepreneurship? Anthony Housefather is eager to explain upcoming diversity and inclusion initiatives Ottawa has in store for the Queer community.

About our speaker, Anthony Housefather

Formerly the executive vice-president of corporate affairs for a telecom tech company, Anthony went on to lead several political and advocacy initiatives. Of particular note was his 10-year stint as mayor of Côte- St. Luc; his lead role in creating the government programme, Youth Employment Services, which provides mentorship and support for entrepreneurs; and since 2015 is the Liberal member of parliament for Mount Royal and Chairman for the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. In his spare time, Anthony is big on athletics and dons a swimmer’s physique he developed from his achievements as a competitive swimmer.



QueerTech strives to queer the tech ecosystem by breaking down barriers, creating spaces, and connecting communities to support and empower LGBTQ2S+ people to thrive.

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Jason Behrmann, PhD

Marketing, communications and ethics specialist in AI & technology. SexTech commentator and radio personality on Passion CJAD800. Serious green thumb and chef.